The Time To Lego

Ron Nagasawa
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Wednesday - April 15, 2009
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Ron Nagasawa is on leave. This column was published originally in March 2000.

I’ve never claimed to be one of those “handy-man” kind of guys, but with the cost of auto repairs these days, you can call me Mr. Do-It Yourself. My problem is that I don’t know where to draw the line between repairs I can do easily and repairs that require a NASA engineer.


My wife drives a foreign car, and I know from experience that every time I have to take it to a dealer for servicing I’d better be prepared to write a check for a couple hundred dollars. Recently her power antenna wouldn’t work so I decided that I would attempt to fix it on my own.

Of course, my wife knows better, so she tried to talk me out of it, especially since it involved her set of “wheels.” Her talking me out of it, however, was equivalent of me taking her out to buy a dress that looks bad on her - no matter what the outcome, I lose either way.

With my toolbox spread out on the driveway, I embarked on the first phase of the antenna repair. This required that I move all the lining and car jack compartments from the trunk. That was followed by the extensive extrication of the antenna motor housing and wiring harness. After two hours I finally got to the component that needed changing and saw that this required a 10 millimeter metric socket wrench. “No problem,” I thought, going to my toolbox - and that’s when I saw the empty space where the 10mm socket belonged. Athorough search turned up no sign of the socket, whose value to me suddenly increased to that of a winning lottery ticket. Knowing that my wife wouldn’t let me leave the car in its unassembled condition, I put everything back on from when I started.

The whole process to accomplish nothing took a total of five hours. I went in the house and sat at the kitchen table next to a Lego space station complex our 10-year-old son had built. On closer inspection, I saw my 10mm socket was being used on it as part of the rocket assembly. Before I could go ballistic, I noticed a little sign in our son’s handwriting taped to the space station. It said, “Dad’s Star Base.”

It was then I decided that a satellite has priority over an antenna.

Ron’s WEBSITE of the week


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